Demons in the Night

This post is a slight continuation of my last post, but you don’t have to read that post to understand this one.
The final book we read in our English Class was Night, by Elie Wiesel. It is an account of Wiesel’s experiences in the Holocaust as a child. There was one scene in the book that particularly touched me.
To sum it up, it is Wiesel’s first night in camp, and he is experiencing all of the horrors of the camp. He describes his horror in this short passage:
“NEVER SHALL I FORGET that night, the first night in camp, that turned my life into one long night seven times sealed.
Never shall I forget that smoke.
Never shall I forget the small faces of the children whose bodies I saw transformed into smoke under a silent sky.
Never shall I forget those flames that consumed my faith forever.
Never shall I forget the nocturnal silence that deprived me for all eternity of the desire to live.
Never shall I forget those moments that murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to ashes.
Never shall I forget those things, even were I condemned to live as long as God Himself.
This horror, is Wiesel’s demon. It is both an honor and a curse. He will never forget to remember all of those lost in the Holocaust. With the book Night around, the Holocaust will never be forgotten. These images, however, are also Wiesel’s demon. He can never forget what happened that day, and like many soldiers, probably had nightmares for a long time of what happened. He saw so many people die, but he still persevered.
Wiesel is using this scene to argue against humanities flaws. He wants people to realize how ordinary things used for good, can be turned and used for evil doing if the right intentions aren’t present. Wiesel wants to make sure that no genocide, or anything like the Holocaust, ever happens again.
I just want to leave you with these things:
This Japanese character, “gaman,” means to persevere, or to carry on regardless of opposition. My grandma always taught me this principle. She was raised during World War II, and was put in an internment camp in the U.S. After the war, my grandma and her family returned to live in a devastated Japan. My grandma struggled to fit in with the other Japanese children, because they constantly teased her for being a “gaijin” or foreigner. Even so, my grandma always remembered, gaman, gaman, gaman.


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